Sunday, May 8, 2011


Movie Review for Splice
For me, scifi stories have a very strange yet close connection with horror stories. Horror stories utilize our fear of the unknown, or of the abnormal or of the new. Scifi stories on the other hand utilize our curiosity for the unknown, our tendency to explain the abnormal or to understand the new.
Usually in Scifi/Horror stories, the scifi aspect provides the plot, the horror aspect is derived from the context.
In the movie Splice, the scientific plot is nothing but scary, two genetic scientists (Elsa and Clive) on a project of splicing DNA of various species into a single creature in the hopes of synthesizing useful products from these organisms. But pressured by their sponsor, the scientists began doing guerilla labwork and did the unthinkable– they spliced human DNA with their specimen (which they named Dren). What would follow is a very strange rendition of Oedipus complex.
The movie is full of bizarre twists and turns. As it turns out, Dren was ‘grown’ from the DNA of Elsa, which makes ‘it’ her daughter (although one could argue that it is her sibling or even just her clone). In the movie, Elsa and Clive treated her as if she was really their daughter. In another strange turn, sexual tension between Dren and Clive led them to have sex, which in a twisted way is just natural since Dren is Elsa and Clive loves Elsa. (Mind you, Elsa caught them doing the act just to add to the weirdness of it).
Now, Dren obtained some characteristics from those species where her DNA is spliced from. One such is the ability to change gender. Right after Clive and Dren have intercourse, Dren seemed to have died. But this appeared to be just a metamorphosis to becoming a male.
Soon after transformation, the male Dren started hunting the scientists. A chase occurs until Dren manages to rape Elsa and kill Clive.
The movie ends with Elsa, who seemed to have survived, sitting in a conference room with their sponsor where she signs a non-disclosure agreement. She then stands up and walks toward the window and we realize that she is pregnant. So, Dren who is Elsa’s ‘son’ now has a child with Elsa. That makes Elsa the bearer of her son’s child– or her grandchild.
As with any science-gone bad stories, the story revolved around a very noble cause. In this case that cause is creating a means to cure all kinds of diseases of humankind.
But as with any real stories, nothing comes out perfectly in the end. There is always a factor that would mess everything up, be it a greedy global company, a scientist taking things personally, the list goes on. That is the real world.
In the real world, throughout history, science has always been associated with horror. The Manhattan Project, the Nazi science etc.
It is important to note that the horror here is not really what science produces in itself. It’s not the nuclear bomb that we invent or the half-human, half-lizard that we create.
The horror here is that in reality we humans are so capable of doing much, much frightful things than these and that we humans actually have the frightening power to create, invent or discover things that may intentionally or unintentionally cause horrific events in our lives.

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